I remember it as a magical time, or at least it felt like it. I was ten years old, and it was Christmas Eve. We were in Holland and were on our way home from a family dinner. Snowflakes started softly falling as we made our way through the quiet streets.
The cold on my cheeks kept me awake; it was late for me to be up. In town, lights were strung between buildings creating a twinkling roof over our heads.
Earlier that the day we had explored the market in the square, drifting from one stall to the next. I was happy; I had been allowed to buy something with my pocket money.
Back at my Oma’s house, a real tree stood beautifully decorated in the corner, rum truffles nestled on a platter on the table, a tempting treat. I took one, then allowed another. I was content and excited. Tomorrow was Christmas.
Christmas in Europe
Christmas in Europe is something magical for those of us living in Australia. Even if we don’t like the cold, the contrast to our hot Christmases is like a dream. It was the Christmas we heard in stories read to us as children, movies we have watched on what a traditional Christmas should be.
Christmas in July events here in Australia are nice, but certainly not the same. It lacks the anticipation of Christmas that I feel even at my age.
For me Christmas is special. It wasn’t always that way, but now it is perfect. A time for the family to come together where everyone cooks delicious food that we share, all of us around the huge dining table, where we laugh and talk and tease, with the little ones running around excited for the arrival of Santa.
Christmas Eve dinner is beautiful and delicious. Christmas morning breakfast is just as good and eagerly anticipated. By the time we the family gift giving is over, we’re hungry. It’s a special time that I look forward to all year round.
But I still long for that white Christmas. To feel the cold on my cheeks, as I delight in the fairy lights that make everything look magical. I’m almost 50, and I still feel that excitement and joy. Hopefully, it will never disappear.
To be able to experience that joy and magic again, and to share it with others, is an opportunity I could not pass up.
Small Group Trips are back!
The last couple of years has seen quite a few changes in Travel Charm. I am happy being in the Travel Planning space again, creating personalised travel itineraries (and other projects to be released soon) and helping others plan their itineraries, but I wanted to get back to what Travel Charm was about initially.
Creating small travel groups. Groups where those without travel companions would feel like they were travelling with friends, and to give them a taste of independent travel with the support and convenience of a group.
So, Travel Charm Small Group Trips are back, and our first trip to offer are the Christmas Markets of Germany. I am excited to be heading back to Germany. I have fond memories of Bacharach on the Rhine, and the Christmas Markets are a dream come true for me, maybe one for you too.
Read on to find out which delightful markets our itinerary includes.
Dotted throughout the city of Berlin are numerous Christmas Markets. It looks like I am going to have to make a decision about which one to choose, or maybe a couple. We have a great trip ahead of us visiting some of the best Christmas Markets Europe has to offer, so I don’t want to wear everyone out.
Christmas Market at Gendarmenmarkt
The Christmas market in Gendarmenmarkt is one of the classic Berlin Christmas Markets that has it all from food to Christmas decorations, entertainment and all located in one of Berlin’s loveliest squares. With a choir, each day and night and the beautifully decorated market getting into the Christmas Spirit will not be difficult.
Market at Charlottenburg Palace
At this time I propose the at Charlottenburg Palace. We will be able to walk from our hotel giving us the opportunity to explore on the way.
This market is located in from of the beautiful Charlottenburg Palace with over 250 stalls offering Christmas decorations and food for sale. I think mulled wine is definitely on the agenda to keep us warm as we wander around.
Christmas Market next to the Brohan Museum
And because this is in the same location, I thought the Christmas market next to the Bröhan Museum would be a nice one to wander around. It is non-commercial which I love, particularly if we can find something handmade by a local artist or artisan. I will be on the lookout for beautiful gifts to bring home.
More than Markets
With three nights in Berlin, we will also be sightseeing and still have plenty of time for relaxing. I am keen to explore some of the alternative areas in Berlin too; it’s a city of contrasts with an edgy vibe I don’t want to miss.
After Berlin, we move onto Dresden.
Once in Dresden not only will we explore one of the oldest Christmas Markets, we will also join a walking tour our the city visiting the recently restored Frauenkirche church, the famous Dresden Opera House, the Imperial Zwinger palace and stroll along the Elbe River.
One of the oldest Christmas Markets in Germany Striezelmarkt dates back to 1434.
After Dresden, we head to Nuremberg. We will have a chance to explore Nuremberg on a walking tour visiting the old part of the city including the castle, one of the most important medieval imperial palaces with an impressive vantage point offering incredible views of the city.
Here we will have a chance to explore the Christkindlesmarkt, Germany’s most famous market attracting over 2 million visitors per year. It is an atmospheric and traditional market.
Now to be honest, we may well be over Christmas Markets by the time we reach Munich. Not to fear Munich is home to the Oktoberfest and we will have plenty to see and do in our stay here including a day trip to one of the most famous castles in Germany.
But if by chance we still have not had enough Christmas cheer then we will not be disappointed. As well as smaller Christmas markets in and around Munich by far the most popular one is the Christkindlemarkt held in Marienplatz and is one of the most visited Christmas Markets in the city. An old market steeped in history and atmosphere we may just not be able to go past it and try and purchase that last ornament, although I suspect our bags might be straining by now.
But the good thing is the choice is yours. My trips are flexible with lots of free time to indulge in as you please. And if that means a sleep in AND an afternoon nap so be it, I will probably be doing the same thing.
The trip also includes day trips to the following places.
Imagine a fairytale castle, and you think of Neuschwanstein Castle. Built between 1869 and 1886 by Ludwig II, also known as the “mad king” it is one of Germany’s most famous castles. You can easily see why it was the inspiration for Walt Disney as the castle of Sleeping Beauty in Disneyland.
Also included on this trip is a day trip to the quaint medieval town of Rothenburg. Rothenburg dates back to 1170 and is one of the oldest cities in Romantic Germany. The city sits on the Tauber River, and a visit here is like stepping back in time. From medieval half-timbered wooden houses and a lovely town centre, this is going to be one of the highlights of the trip.
If you want to experience Christmas in Europe, then join me. There is so much more to the itinerary than just the markets above. It is a wonderful trip discovering Germany and what better time of the year to do that than at Christmas time.
I can’t wait to soak up the atmosphere, buy as many ornaments as my luggage will take and come home full of Christmas Spirit.
Imagine how beautiful it will be?